Nonaggression pacts needed for traveling Little League adults

August 12, 2010

We are not vain, but we do sometimes dream of a world in which people across the nation do not form opinions about Hagerstown based on the latest altercation involving Little League parents, coaches, umpires, etc.

Once again, we are national news because, this time, a Halfway Little League parent and coach traded blows outside a hotel bar after the team was eliminated from tournament play.

A couple of years ago, adults affiliated with the Federal Little League team showed what could be done, winning acclaim for sportsmanship and enthusiastic good manners as the team won its way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

But for every step forward, there are one or two back.

If an ABC Television report on the sad state of Washington County Little League in the 1990s couldn't shame adults into decent behavior, our chances are unlikely to be any better.


Children shouldn't have to hide their faces at the sight of veins popping out of their parents' necks. Young minds shouldn't be influenced by the browbeating of authority figures. It is, after all, just a game.

But none of these idealistic arguments seem to work, so perhaps money is a better way to make the point.

Successful Little League teams have started to ask the county government for financial help to pay travel costs whenever a winning streak takes them to a far-off tournament.

To promote athletics and reward a job well done, we are willing to go along with the expense - on one condition. All adults affiliated with the team would be required to sign a nonaggression pact, prohibiting them from punching, clubbing, scratching, kicking or angrily screaming at any other adult (or kid). If they misbehave, the money goes back into the county treasury.

Perhaps this is severe. But when out-of-town friends call us to say, "Hey, we saw Hagerstown on the news ..." it just might be the only way.

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